Your partner is still keen, but during menopause, sex may be the last thing on your mind. You are not alone. Many women find that their desire for sex wanes as they approach menopause. Studies show that up to 75 per cent of women feel their sex drive has declined since menopause. That’s not surprising when up to 70 per cent report suffering from vaginal dryness. Spontaneity and enjoyment understandably go out the window when penetration is painful.
Many women regard their loss of libido as part of their fading youth. Our falling libido levels are often a well-kept secret and not something we consider an acceptable part of social chit-chat over cocktails, even with our best friends. There are no standards for an average level of libido, and there is no such thing as a standard sex drive. What is normal for one couple may be abnormal for another. You can judge your libido only by your standards. If you are concerned that your sexual desire has diminished, the good news is that it’s possible to restore it.
Tiredness, lack of energy, and mood swings can strain the most solid relationship. At the same time, falling levels of oestrogen can result in the lining of your vagina becoming dry and uncomfortable. When this happens, penetration can become painful and, in extreme cases, the tissue may tear and bleed. If you also suffer from night sweats, it’s not surprising that you don’t feel like being touched.
Many women suffer in silence, thinking this is an inevitable part of ageing. But it doesn’t have to be this way; you can get back to having fun in the bedroom.
It Takes Two: Talking to Your Partner
When your libido is low, expecting your partner to understand what is going on without explaining is an easy trap to fall into and can quickly put a distance between you. Most importantly, you both continue to communicate physically and emotionally. Take some time to explain what you are going through and ask for support.
In the 2019 survey “What Women Want,” more than two-thirds of the 1,100 women my team and I surveyed said they found it difficult to broach menopause with their partner. On the other hand, the survey we conducted of men and their relationships with their partners during menopause revealed that men often felt rejected, frustrated, and bewildered about what was happening to their significant other. Completely understandable when women often don’t understand it 100 per cent themselves!
Having a heart-to-heart talk with your partner about what you’re going through can make menopause a lot easier for both of you. It’s best to start the conversation sooner rather than later so your partner doesn’t attribute your symptoms or reactions to something else and, more importantly, so that you don’t feel you have to go through this transition on your own.
Think About It
Before starting the conversation, you need to get your head around what’s happening with you. Which symptoms are affecting your life, and how? What are your fears and anxieties? How do you plan to get through menopause and reclaim your well-being? What do you think is going to be the outcome of the conversation?
Make a Date
Set a time, arrange a date night, and prepare what you will say. Be willing to admit your vulnerability and tell your partner that you’ve been worried about having this chat. Still, you believe there are solutions, especially if you can work through the issues together.
Explain that you’re starting to experience symptoms of menopause, including low mood and libido that may affect your behaviour, and it’s not your partner’s fault.
Draw up a list of ways your partner may be able to help — for example, by helping you stick to a healthy eating plan. If they bring home tempting “treats” like caffeinated drinks, alcohol, or lots of chocolate, gently explain that these could make your symptoms worse. The same applies to foods you may have sensitivities to, such as baked goods containing gluten.
Talk About Sex
Let your partner know you may need more time to get aroused, and suggest using a lubricant like AH! YES, or coconut oil.
Spend Time Together
However low you are feeling, make time for each other and let your partner know that they may be able to help you. It’s incredible how much difference a hug or a snuggle on the sofa can make.
Try some of the following approaches to help you feel closer to one another.
Get In Touch
Treat each other to a sensual massage. Turn on some music, dim the lights, and gently touch each other. Essential oils, such as jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, clary sage, or sandalwood, may heighten your experience.
If penetration is really painful, explore other ways of giving each other pleasure. Go back to your courting days and indulge in plenty of foreplay. And there is no need to shy away from using a lubricant. Rather than feeling that your cup is half full, consider oral sex as a source of pleasure.
Sometimes it’s fun to try something new – roleplay is an excellent way to do it. Is there a scenario/fantasy you have also wanted to try that you thought would be fun? Well, why not create it and try it out? Perhaps you have wanted to meet a stranger in a bar - ask your partner to act this out – it can be pretty exciting. Even just planning it can have the right effect.
Sex Toys and Apps
There are so many sex toys to buy online – you don’t have to go to a sex shop any longer. Browse online with your partner and choose something together, or give him a surprise.
Joylux has created a device which doubles as a vibrator, but in addition harnesses the power of red-light therapy to improve vaginal health. In the US it’s known as vFit and in other countries it’s vSculpt. This technology addresses common issues that so many of us face with age including pelvic floor strength, natural lubrication, sensation and most importantly, confidence. In a published clinical study, over 90% of women experienced results, greatly enhanced by using hyaluronic gel on the device. It’s been proven to be a safe, effective, natural easy to use system, which can be used from the comfort of home.
Don’t give up on your sex life just because you have arrived at midlife. It can be a liberating time – an empty nest without worrying about getting pregnant.
Take it one step at a time – get your body back into good nutritional shape, feel better, talk to your partner and then enjoy yourself!
Are you feeling demotivated?
Have you lost your mojo?
Are you feeling tired and achy or old before your time?
Are you scared because you can't think straight or lose track of what you were saying mid sentence?
Have you put so much weight on and your clothes are tight?